By Caitlin Wingertzahn, Staff Writer
The cross country team, led by head coach Tony Avallone and assistant coach Jonathan Salamon, made a statement during the state championships. The varsity team won the Non-Public B Group Championship title on Nov. 9 by defeating Villa Walsh, who was looking for its sixth consecutive title. In addition to winning states, the team protected an undefeated record at dual meets.
At the state championship race held at Holmdel Park, the Monarchs had five runners place in the top 25, including sophomore Allison Lawson (fifth, 20:26), freshman Grace Child (ninth, 20:47), freshman Haven Dora (11th, 20:54), freshman Madeline Barber (12th, 20:54) and junior Caroline Meany (22nd, 21:45). Senior Gillian Thorp and freshman Kate Hegel also helped Trinity Hall finish with 54 points, well ahead of Villa Walsh (96 points) and St. Dominic Academy (106 points).
“The team has met all of the goals they set this summer, including winning the state championship title,,” Avallone said. “I credit much of our success to the team’s captains, seniors Gillian Thorp and Olivia Ferrigine and junior Caroline Meany They are very good leaders, they’re caring individuals, they put the team first, and, besides being strong, independent women, they are very hard working.”
“It’s an honor to be a captain because I have been on the team since I was a freshman, and the captains were always people I looked up to. It’s exciting to be that person now,” Ferrigine said.
The 8th-ranked varsity team made history as the first team to rank in the top ten in Monmouth County. The team also came in fifth place at the Shore Conference Championship on Oct. 25 and qualified for the Meet of Champions, which took place on Nov. 17 at Holmdel Park.
“I have been on the team for four years, so it has been amazing to see the program grow from not having any seniors to what we have now,” Thorp said. “The team is going to continue to grow, especially with amazing coaches and girls that will be leading the team next year.”
At the Monmouth County Championship on Oct. 16, the JV team came in fourth place. To further add to the team’s success, the freshman team won the NJCTC championship on Nov. 3, where four freshmen came in the top six places overall.
“Each year, we have improved, but not just by baby steps, by leaps, and everyone is improving every year; they are starting to find their way,” Ferrigine said. “It’s going to be great. I see big things for [Trinity Hall] cross country.”